Behind an imposing array of barricades erected outside the Dail, the Irish government announced a sixth annual package of spending cuts and tax rises worth €3.5 billion (£2.8bn) in its 2013 budget today.
Gardai were out in force around the Dail in central Dublin in case the long-suffering Irish public ran out of patience with the escalating cuts they will have to endure yet again.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan introduced a raft of measures calculated to please the republic's bail-out creditors.
A new property tax of 0.18 per cent of the value of homes worth up to €1 million (£800m) is going to hit hard.
Then there was the old faithful - tax rises on alcohol and cigarettes - an extra €1 (80p) on a 75cl bottle of wine and a 10 cents rise on beer and cider.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said there was a daunting challenge ahead, with €3.5bn of new expenditure cuts required.
Daunting indeed for public-sector workers, who will now face a further jobs cull of 33,000 to 287,000 next year in a country with over 14 per cent unemployed.
Expectant mothers were next to be hit, with maternity benefit to be made taxable for all claimants.
PRSI - the Irish equivalent of National Insurance - is also being raised, increasing the minimum level of annual contribution from the self-employed from €253 (£205) to €500 (£406) and removing €100m (£81m) worth of exemptions.
The government claimed that it would meet its deficit reduction target for this year.
It projected a budget deficit of 8.2 per cent, compared with a target of 8.6 per cent.
The deficit would fall steadily to 2.9 per cent by 2015, it pledged hopefully, although these forecasts were based on economic growth of 1.5 per next year, rising to 2.9 per cent in 2015.
"There are manifest signs that the country is emerging from the worst of the crisis," claimed Mr Noonan.
But he did not explain what these signs were or how growth would be maintained in the face of further continuing job losses and reducing personal income.
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